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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

How Muslims Are To Manage Spiritual And Material Concerns: Part 3

Imam W. Deen Mohammed


(Imam W. Deen Mohammed gave this public address in Detroit, Michigan on December 3, 1989. It is one essential to the fine tuning of the human instrument in accord with what Allah wants for us.)

I have read part of a book by a Western writer who says in documentation that from the Crusades, although seen as negative, a lot of good came out of it. The reason being he says, those wars "brought Christians and Muslims in direct contact with each other." When the Crusaders saw that the Muslim soldiers could fight the war very effectively and still take a bath and shave regularly, they then decided they could do that also.

This is not said to make jokes of anybody. Really, I do not look down on the European people for this past rawness. When you see where the European people came from, how they lived in ancient times before civilization dawned on them, you come to appreciate them even more as an accomplished people. When you study their superstitious life, you begin to realize that the environment in the north is much scarier than the environment in the south!

Can you picture yourself living up in the north and hearing all of those spooky cold winds, seeing only huge mounds of ice and snow? A frozen environment is death! There are parts of the northern hemisphere where the appearance of changing seasons is marked and beautiful, however.

Also note that in parts of the north one can experience six months of darkness. Up there is where the expression "Midnight Sun" came from. People who live in an environment like that for hundreds and thousands of years can be spooked up something terribly, and really get blue-eyed. The blues is not ours exclusively.

I have read about the spirituality of ancient Germans and certain other European people before enlightenment came to them. The ancestors of most of the Europeans were spooky and superstitious. Horrible things they would depict and do.

Their idea of God was an intoxication for fueling bravery and violence. Their idea of God was sometimes a crazed conqueror. I am not saying that other parts of the world did not experience similar extremes in behavior. However, most of the raw violence was made by those from the extreme north — examples being the Norsemen and Huns.

The south shows organic development. That organic development communicates with the human intellect better. Anyone interested may study the past (ancient history) before the European became enlightened or civilized. See what it was they were believing in and see what was their behavior.

People in such situations do not, as a rule, make progress until they meet with people outside of that environment. Study history. The more they came south, the more they liked the southern environment. And now you will find many of them in the south. That is not the native home for the European or Caucasian man. He is not a native of the tropics, but he likes it. Now, by choice the warm belt is becoming his home. The environment colors you after it. And that snow and white environment developed some cold "white men."

The people of Africa were put in an oven and that blackened our dough.

I had someone call me on the local radio interview here. One sister's call knocked me back in my seat, and I had to hold onto my interest without letting it be known that this call was a setback. The Honorable Elijah Mohammed made so much progress for us to recall and here is someone who has taken him back to the most primitive days of his image.

I like to follow the line of progress. Don't go back to a man's kindergarten and project him as a six year old boy. "That's my leader, Elijah when he was six years old. That's my man." They don't want to raise up the Elijah who was feeling good about his achievements and talking tough and had the courage to tell you, "Black man, shape up."

Elijah Mohammed told you to get rid of a lot of your false pride and conceit. That is a real leader. He said time was out for it (racial arrogance). That is a sincere and strong leader who tells you to put down something that he once was telling you to pick up. As they say, wise men change and you know the rest.

The biggest challenge for the human being is to manage his life spiritually. Some will say, "The greatest threat is the material world." No, it is not. The greatest threat to you is spiritual. What you cannot see is more difficult to handle. Spiritual influences are too powerful for us to manage without Allah. You have to have Allah.

Allah has given us a body and the influences of my own body will defeat me if I am not careful. You will see some people who have become so vain and so much in love with their own physical body, that the body sends them to the psychologist. The exaggerated love of the body sends them to the grave. You can now hear of people dying with a disease where they want to stay thin. It is called anorexia, where they are obsessed with the body looking good.

Our religion saves us by protecting for us that relationship upon which all other relationships depend. It is the relationship with Allah. All other relationships depend upon that relationship. If your relationship with Allah is right, then you are not going to have any trouble with other relationships that you can't resolve. All of the Believers here know that to be true. Our whole life experience tells us that. Some believers have great problems with their families. The Believers are not going to be left without having problems.

Allah said, "Do you think you will be admitted into Paradise just upon saying you believe?" As others before you, you will have to undergo hardships and be tested also. It is not right with Allah to take a certain group of people who say they love and believe in Him and then spare them all difficulties and leave all other people to have the problems. If we accept the same burdens that other people have to accept and still hold with Allah, then that is the proof that we deserve the Great Prize at the end of the road.

We Muslims have a definite life that we have chosen. And this world of profiteering people does not respect any definite life. I am not talking about Christians or the church nor am I pointing at any particular thing. It is the world itself that is under the influence of greed. It is not just material greed.

There are people you will think of as materialistic who are not. The oppressors know that in order to get you under them, they have to have material power. They will go and work to get themselves into material power in order to achieve that dominance over you. But they are not materialistic. You can go to their house and they will be eating small portions of food. They will spend money like it will not be around anymore. They carefully spend their money, although they are in control of millions and billions and trillions. It is not that they are materialistic, but they need material control over people.

The worst greed is not material greed. The worst greed is arrogant dominance. It is the greed for power and a big image over others. Those with that greed will sell everything — their mothers, their babies, and everything — to keep themselves in a superior position over others. They have to feel, "I'm in control. I control people and their lives." I have heard this said, "I control people's lives." That kind of greed for power, for authority and dominance is much more dangerous to us than the people who just love material things.

Do you know who are the greatest material lovers in the United States? The biggest materialist in the United States is the African-American. Anyone who does not have enough money to pay the telephone bill for three consecutive months, but will go out and get a car costing $50,000 is materialistic. Anyone who complains about their race being behind and denied opportunities and puts thousands of dollars in a leather coat is materialistic. The one who eats to show just how much he spent on it is materialistic. He will ask for something not on the menu then. He asks for rib eye steak, crab legs, and giant shrimp. He orders lobster for his friend. He would have just had a car repossessed. He has money; he shows off. That is materialistic!

In contrast, the man who goes after material wealth and uses it for things according to their established value and not the popular value, that man is not necessarily a materialist. You should not be calling people materialistic just because they have great wealth. I hope I can correct this now, for I have a plan to get into some big money! I want this thought corrected at least in my circle of associates. I don't want you looking at me and calling me materialistic.

Whatever wealth I get will be to serve Allah. And Allah says, "By the means Allah gives you, seek the Hereafter. But do not forget your share of this (material) world." What else does Allah say? "And My devoted servants shall inherit the earth." Don't you want that? I do! I want to inherit a piece of the earth with gold and diamonds and oil. I want to inherit a rich piece of this earth. And we can manage it, if we always keep Allah first and highest.

Whenever I come to this city, I feel obligated almost to go back and get a focus on things in the order in which we should see them. I want to get focus on our life in the order that we should see things. We should see the steps that were made to bring us where we are now. We should look back in the past, not just to have that nostalgic feeling of the good old days. We should look back mainly to collect what was best and should be appreciated and kept as values.

My father and mother — and I say father first because he was so big, and our mother made him big in my eyes. They told me from the time I can first remember to "fear Allah, obey Allah." Now how was I to obey Allah? Allah was not talking to me. My father and mother were talking to me. So I was hearing my father and mother and I was fearing and obeying them. They (my parents) were talking to me and I was not talking to Allah. And too, I was not reading the Qur'an in my boyhood days. They told me to be decent, to not lie, to not go around with bad company. My mother, speaking for her husband and for herself, told me not to smoke and not to drink. They told me not to live and not to steal. And I feel so good to stand here today and tell you that I have obeyed them.

I still fear Allah. I still try to obey Allah. I still have their influence. I have the same spirit now as I had as a child to fear and obey Allah. I still do not smoke. I don't drink. I don't use narcotics. I don't want whores. I have not changed and I'm still the same, and I owe that to Allah and to my father's and mother's teachings and protection. They did not only teach me, they also protected my mind and my thoughts and watched over me as protectors. Because of them I am still in that good discipline.

Now, my understanding of God has left the erroneous kinds of ideas that they gave me mixed among the many good things. Now I am happy to be free and at peace with myself and my God, believing in Allah as He is presented in the Qur'an, the Last and Final Revelation. I am happy with that. I am also happy that they put the fear of Allah in me, no matter how I viewed Allah. My parents put the fear of a Superior Authority in me. They told me to fear an Authority that should decide other authorities for me.

That is to be saved.

(To be continued)